Fire safety built in - saving lives
Dangerous and unpredictable, fire is deadly and under the wrong conditions can destroy a building within minutes.
It seems obvious but the best way to deal with a fire is to not have a fire in the first place! This is why modern fire consultants place such a heavy emphasis on selecting materials and finishings that are hard to ignite. Doing so minimises the risk of a fire.
Fire walls, doors and floors
Of course, even with such precautions, fires can still occur. When they do it's imperative that everyone in other parts of the building is given enough time before the fire spreads to evacuate and the building remains structurally safe throughout the fire fighting effort.
In practice all of this is achieved by compartmentalising a building using fire stopping walls, floors, ceilings and doors. The level of fire stopping required varies, dependent on the building type and local building codes but normally consultants look to keep a fire compartmentalised for at least 90 or 120 minutes.
Because a wall doesn't actually need to be non-combustible to stop a fire breaking through for 120 minutes (or longer) there is a surprising variation in the types of fire resistant walls, floors, ceilings and doors available.
The weakest link
What all fire rated walls have in common however is that any penetration through the wall represents a weak point where fire is most likely to pass through. Consultants are aware of this which is why the best modern building practice always seeks to avoid routing pipe and ductwork through fire rated walls.
Of course this isn't always possible! Heating pipework, to take just one example, needs to connect every room to the boiler!
Because of this the risks associated with pipework penetrating a fire resistant wall must be carefully assessed. Most obviously, if there is a gap between the wall and the pipe the fire can directly pass from one side to the other through the hole.
Insulation and integrity
Less obviously the fire can heat the pipe and this can cause the temperature of the pipe on the other side of the wall to reach levels high enough to cause secondary combustion. In this way a fire on one side of a wall can pass to the other without the flames directly traversing a gap.
There are a wide range of potential solutions to provide fire sealing integrity as the pipe passes through the wall but only insulation can control the surface temperatures. This is the stock in trade for Kaiflex products and our products are effective at ensuring surface temperatures of pipework can't cause a fire to bypass the carefully established fire stop of the partition.
Infact Kaiflex products provide even more fire stopping performance than this. When used on non-combustible pipework Kaiflex ST can also satisfy the requirements for fire sealing integrity as the pipe passes through the fire rated wall.
more about ... Kaiflex Pyrostar